Even As President Opposes Workers Aid, House Votes to Support Murray Airline Workers Amendment

Apr 08 2003

Murray urges colleagues to stand with constituents on this important issue

(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Despite strong opposition from the White House revealed just before the vote, the House of Representatives has voted 265-150 to support the Murray airline workers amendment in the House-Senate supplemental appropriations bill.

The Murray amendment was included in the Senate version of the War Supplemental and would provide 26 weeks of unemployment assistance to as many as 200,000 airline industry workers.

Airline industry workers have been disproportionately hurt by September 11th and the War in Iraq. The unemployment rate in the industry is three times higher than the national average, and 115,000 workers have lost their jobs in the last year and a half.

Despite the urgent needs of airline workers, the White House budget director, Mitch Daniels sent a letter to Congressional leaders saying the "Administration strongly opposes" the Murray workers provision, and urged conferees to "drop this objectionable provision."

But shortly after the White House letter was received on Capitol Hill, House members voted overwhelmingly to support the Murray workers provision in the House-Senate conference committee. The "motion to instruct" conferees to support the Murray provision was passed by a vote of 265-150, with 67 Republicans joining every Democrat in support of the measure.

"Today's broad, bipartisan vote shows that helping America's workers need not be a partisan issue," said Murray. "While the President's opposition to helping workers is disappointing, the depth of bipartisan support in the House for this measure is encouraging. I urge my colleagues to stand with their constituents in these difficult times and allow them to continue to pay their mortgages, feed their families, and clothe their children."

The Murray amendment was added to the Senate Appropriations bill during the markup.

It would provide $275 million to extend unemployment assistance for 26 weeks for up to 200,000 workers in the airline and related industries.